Context: Oedipus, king of Thebes, has unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. A plague has fallen upon the city, and he is determined to discover the murderer of Laius, his father, in order to free the city of the curse. Creon, brother of Oedipus's wife, has urged that Oedipus send for a soothsayer, Tiresias, who tells the king that "There is not one of all mankind/ That shall be bruised more utterly than you." Angered, Oedipus believes that Creon is in league with Tiresias in order to depose their king. Creon then steps before the Thebans to protest his innocence. Oedipus enters and accuses further. Creon continues to protest pointing out that he has no reason for trying to depose Oedipus, for he likes his present status as a one-third ruler, equal with him and Queen Jocasta:
CREONNeither am I, by nature, covetousTo be a king, rather than play the king,Nor any man who has sagacity.Now I am all things, without fear, from you;Reigned I myself, I must do much I hated.How were a throne, then, pleasanter for meThan painless empire and authority?I am not yet so blind as to wishFor honour, other than is joined with gainNow am I hail-fellow-well-met with all;Now every man gives me good-morrow;. . .Then how should I exchange this lot for yours?